Britain’s new Cod War with the EU could sink next week’s Brexit talks as fishing row pushes UK closer to No Deal, negotiator David Frost warns
- David Frost said Brussels’ demands on fishing could ‘limit progress’ made in talks
- Bloc wants to retain access for boats but No 10 says British trawlers will be given priority
- Brussels is also demanding a ‘level playing field’ on state aid rules
The latest round of Brexit talks could be doomed to failure before they have even begun, Britain’s chief negotiator warned yesterday.
David Frost said that Brussels’ demands on fishing and state subsidies could ‘limit the progress’ made in talks next week.
In a sign the UK could be edging closer to a No Deal Brexit, Mr Frost said: ‘The EU still insists we change our positions on state aid and fisheries if there are to be substantive textual discussions on anything else. From the very beginning we have been clear about what we can accept in these areas, which are fundamental to our status as an independent country.
David Frost said that Brussels’ demands on fishing and state subsidies could ‘limit the progress’ made in talks next week
‘We will negotiate constructively but the EU’s stance may, realistically, limit the progress we can make next week.’
His comments on Twitter came after EU negotiator Michel Barnier said that while Britain can regain control of its waters, ‘the fish which are inside those waters’ are ‘another story’.
The bloc wants to retain access for its fishing boats, but No 10 is adamant that British trawlers will be given priority.
His comments on Twitter came after EU negotiator Michel Barnier said that while Britain can regain control of its waters, ‘the fish which are inside those waters’ are ‘another story’
Brussels is also demanding a ‘level playing field’ on state aid rules, which would effectively tie Britain to EU regulations after the transition period finishes at the end of the year.
Boris Johnson insisted yesterday the UK will ‘prosper mightily’ regardless of the outcome of the trade talks. Asked about hauliers’ concerns about chaos at the border, Mr Johnson said: ‘We’re ready for any eventuality, of course. But we must make sure that people understand that, at the end of the year, whatever happens, we are leaving the EU, leaving the transition period. We will get through this.
‘It’s absolutely vital that our partners understand that the UK is going to do what we need to do.’
The Road Haulage Association is among seven logistics groups which have written to Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove, warning that the supply chain from the EU will be ‘severely disrupted’ next year without urgent action to plug ‘significant gaps’ in our preparations.
A No 10 spokesman said in response: ‘We have been working closely with industry throughout and will continue to do so.’
The map shows the waters the UK will take control of after Brexit